Jerusalem/Ramallah, 12 July 2017 – President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Paolo Alli (Italy) completed today an official visit to Israel and to the Palestinian Territories aimed at discussing the impact of broader regional developments for Israel, for the Palestinian Authority and for the Middle East peace process.
“We should not let developments in Syria, Iraq and the broader region detract us from the urgent need for peace between Israelis and Palestinians”, Mr Alli stressed at the conclusion of his meetings in Jerusalem and Ramallah, and as Jason Greenblatt, the US Presidential envoy for the peace process, arrived in the region for a new round of talks. “I welcome the willingness expressed by both sides to seize the opportunity offered by renewed US efforts”, Mr Alli commented.
While noting Washington’s determination to push for positive movement, both Israeli Deputy Minister Michael Oren and President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas were cautious as to the prospects for a rapid breakthrough.
Discussions with Israeli and Palestinian officials highlighted the complex links and the impact of broader regional developments from recent progress in the fight against Daesh in Syria and Iraq, to Iran and Russia’s ongoing support to the Assad regime, and tensions between Qatar and other Gulf States.
Israeli officials welcomed NATO’s growing attention to developments in the region, and the remarkable intensification of cooperation with Israel in the past year on a broad range of common security challenges. “We have a lot to learn from Israel’s experience in many areas, from cyber security to emergency management and the fight against terrorism”, Mr Alli noted, stressing the value of parliamentary exchanges as an important complement to cooperation between governments and militaries.
NATO further intensified its focus on stability in the southern neighbourhood in February 2017 with the development of the “strategic direction South” and the decision to establish a “hub for the south” at NATO’s Joint Forces Command Naples – expected to be fully operational by September.
In Jerusalem, Mr Alli met with Knesset Chairman Yuli Edelstein and other leading members of the Knesset, as well as high-level officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Counter-Terrorism Bureau. In Ramallah, in addition to his meeting with Mr Abbas, Mr Alli held talks with leading members of the Palestinian National Council.
Both the Knesset and the Palestinian National Council are partners of the NATO PA. In addition to its five Committees, the NATO PA’s Mediterranean and Middle East Special Group provides a dedicated forum for dialogue with parliaments from North Africa and the Middle East.